China Town, Amsterdam
The Buddhist Temple in the heart of China Town in central Amsterdam is worth a visit. Spend a few minutes of tranquility in this colourful shrine – it is both interesting and thought provoking.
You can light an incense stick and offer the fruit that is in a basket by the doorway to Buddha. There is a collection box for voluntary donations too.
As most of the big cities, Amsterdam has its China town too.
Along the Zeedijk you will find lots of Chinese restaurants, takeaways, oriental shops and even a Buddhist temple, open for the public. The Fo Guang Shan He Hua temple is the biggest Buddhist temple in Europe that is built in the traditional style.
We got here by accident. We got lost and found our way here. It seems that every big city has its own Chinatown. Amsterdams Chinatown is small but this is where we found the best food so far. I was never a big Chinese food person. I like it but its not top of my list. On top of that I didnt seem to have much luck in Amsterdam for food choices. Everywhere I went I ended up not caring toomuch for their food. By the time we got to Chinatown we were lost for a little while and we were hungry. We found ourselves in a temple and talking to the man there. He recommended a place and we went there. The food was good.
I also found a few places with good souveniers here. It was small but an interesting place.
In 1994 a few wealthy chinese business men asked the city council permission to built a chinese buddhist temple at the Zeedijk. In 2000 (at the 40th birthday of Gonnie) the temple was officially opened by queen Beatrix. The name He Hwa means lotus flower. The lotus flower is a buddhist symbol of enlightenment.
It is the biggest in traditional chinese style built temple in Europe. It is part of the world wide chinese buddhist organisation I.B.P.S., of which the mother monastery is in Taiwan, the Fo Guang Shan monastery.
Just to the east of the Red Light District, you'll find Chinatown, which doesn't strike the same authentic tone with me as do Chinatowns in other cities, but it's still a good place to grab an inexpensive bite to eat or find stores selling herbal teas and other items you'd expect in this type of neighborhood.
A few minutes after I snapped this photo, it started to snow, so I didn't stick around long.
It is the biggest Buddha temple in Europe in the traditional Chinese palace-style (508 m2). Our Queen Beatrix opened the temple, on September 15th, 2000. Globally this has been a unique event for Buddhism, because she has been the first statesman ever, who supported Buddhism in public.
Amsterdam's China Town is just a few mins walk east of the Red Light District.The main street is 'Zeedijk' and over the years it has grown into the neighbouring 'Nieumarkt' area.Despite being rather a new China Town that evolved around the 1980's it is the largest in the netherlands and still growing.There are many shops,deli's and restaurants here and not only Chinese but other Asian cultures are represented here such as Malaysian,Indonesian and Thai.There are also supermarkets offering traditional Chinese food stuffs,spices and even Chinese Travel Agents.
The main attraction is the 'He Hua Temple',the largest Chinese Mahayana Buddhist monastary in Europe.The Temple is a favorite amoungst locals and tourists and offers a free tour of the inside.A lot of Chinese and Dutch locals attend meditation classes here.Photos of the temple are permitted but no recording.
While wandering the side streets near our hotel, we explored Amsterdam without a map. I discovered we had wandered into Chinatown by seeing this particular display in the window ;)
It was early in the day, and not many shops were open, but we had fun just wandering down more streets and windowshopping ... a few minutes later we were in De Waleen ...
Amsterdam has one of the oldest China Towns in Europe, but this Buddhist temple is a relatively new addition. Apparently, it is open to the public, and the Buddhists who work there are happy to talk to you about their faith, but each time we passed it was closed.
There are dozens of inexpensive restaurants and takeaways in this part of town or, if you prefer to cook for yourself, there are also lots of Chinese supermarkets.
Forget the ladies in the Red Light District. If you want a really sensual experience, one you can tell the folks about back home, then stop in at one of the reflexology and foot-massage spas on the Zeedijk in Chinatown. There are at least three such spas, all located about where Zeedijk curves around toward the RLD if you're walking south.
For about 35Euros you get an hour of heaven. The foot massage is especially wonderful if you've been walking around Amsterdam for two or three days and your "dogs are barking."
I recommend the establishment that's the furtherest north on the street. They take you upstairs to a room filled with big, comfy easy chairs. They stick your feet in a tub of steaming, scented water. While your feet soak they massage your temples and forearms and hands. Then, after 20 minutes or so, they take your feet out of the water and wrap them in warm towels, then unwrap one at a time for a 20-minute massage of each foot.
I don't know how, considering all the reading up I did before coming to A'dam, but I had no idea there was a Chinatown in Amsterdam!!
Even the street signs are either in Chinese or bilingual Chinese-Dutch, which is cool.
Basically, if you want to eat Asian food or eat on a budget, get yourself over here.
However, do be careful with your safety, as it is cheek-by-jowl with the Red Light District and the general area does attract some shady characters. I had no problems there myself, but then again, I was accompanied by a local.
The Fo Guang Shan He Hwa Temple is the biggest Chinese temple of the I.B.P.S. (International Buddhist Progress Society) in Europe that is built in a tradional style.It is part of a world-wide Chinese Buddhist organisation, the I.B.P.S, which was founded by Venarable Master Hsing Yun.
The function of the temple is expressed through its four aims:
- to spread Buddhism, partly through cultural activities.
- to help develop the talents of people.
-to help further positive developments in society by means of chairty programmes.
-to purify the hearts and minds of all people by giving them the opportunity to learn how to practise Buddhism.
every sunday, from 10.30 am onwards, there is a Sutra recitation in the trational Chinese way.
every year in may the birth of the Budda is celebrated at the Nieuwmarkt.
the temple was opened by queen Beatrix at 15 september 2000.
i asked from the dooropening if it was aloud to come inside. the nun said yes. from the entrance up i saw here at the doorentrance on the right. at the desk you have some flyers
and you can get some info about guided tours. i asked premission to take the pictures inside.
if you want you can give an donation.
Just walking around enjoying all the street scene can be very entertaining. There are people from all walks of life and it is quite an adventure to be around so many different nationalities and cutlure all at once, it can be shocking.
The function of this temple is expressed by its 4 aims:
* to spread Buddhism (cultural activities)
* to help develop talents of people
* to help further positive developments in
society by means of charity prpgrammes
* to purify the hearts and minds of all people
by giving them the opportunity to learn how
to practise BUDDHISM.
This temple is the BIGGEST Chinese temple of the I.B.P.S. in EUROP that is built in the traditional style.
It is part of a world-wide Chinese Buddhist organisation, the I.B.P.S., which was founded bij Venerable Master Hsing Yun, with a head monastery in TAIWAN called Fo Guang Shan Monastery.
The organisation has smaller temples in many larger European cities as well as large monasteries and training centres in the U.S.A., South Africa and Australia.
Although the emphasis is mainly on religious activities, the temple also fulfills an important cultural role for the chinese community in Holland and especially in Amsterdam.
Every Sunday, from 10.30 AM onwards, there is a Sutra recitation in the traditional Chinese way. SUTRAS are the sayings of the Buddha that have been committed to writing.
Everyone who is interested is welcome to attend the recitation.
Courses in Buddhism and Chinese are also given, both for Chinese as wel as Dutch speakers.
Every year in May the birth of Buddha is celebrated in this temple.
The Main hall of the temple is open to the public.
Here you can find the statue of AVALOKITESVARA, in Chinese GUAN YIN BODHISATTVA in place of pride!
Her name means THE WISE ONE WHO NORICES / SEE EVERYTHING AND WHO IS FULL OF COMPASSION.
She sees with a thousand eyes, each in one hand, she "sees" all the suffering of the world and every suffering person.
Her 1000 hands symbolize her capability to save every living creature!
She also helps AMITABHA BUDDHA leading people to his WESTERN PUREIFIED LAND.
This is the reason that there is often a small statue of Amitabha in her crown.
TOO MANY CHARACTERS so I have to use another tip..........please follow me.....
VENERABLE MASTER HSING YUN.
He is a great proclaimer of Humanistic Buddhism.
He has written many books on the subject and he has founded several organisations, among which 3 Buddhist universities and clinics that renders free medical help. Human being and human existence are central to Humanistic Buddhism but there are no essential differences with other and traditional Buddhist schools.
Humanistic Buddhism integrates spiritual practice with all aspects of our daily lives.
This is realised through the following aims expressed by Master Hsing Yun himself:
* to pratise fellowship and selflessness
to emphasize spiritual practice in daily life
* to give joy to others and to experienmce joy
* to use suitable means to help others
* to cherish the universal wish to save all
GUAN YIN has many diffent attributes in her hands and they all are symbols of the ways . means with which she comes to the rescue of people.
On each side of Guan Yin is a statue, one of WEI TUO and one of QIE-LAN, the legendary protectors of Buddhism.
On the walls of this hall are many tablets with pictures of GUAN YIN.
The repetion of this picture and the great number shows that the DHARMA, the principles / the faith of BUDDHA is everywhere to be found.
For more information or a GUIDED TOUR, please contact one of the NUNS of VOLUNTEERS present at the temple.
And on March 13th, the day of the VT meeting in Amsterdam, we discovered this very special place, a real surprise......very worthwhile of your visit.
There is still a bit more to tell you, so please follow me to the next TIP......